Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Standing up to the IMF and the EU does indeed feature strongly in the Orbán government's rhetoric, and the bank tax is true, in fact it wasn't the only special tax. However, neither is what it seems.

The special taxes are worthless in combination with their other policies, above all the flat tax which emptied state coffers more than the special taxes could compensate. Another example is what the Orbán government did with private pension schemes. In the USA, the financial industry used the money of pension funds to play casino in both the dotcom and mortgage bubbles, by fooling their conservative investors with elaborate schemes to make worthless investment appear safe investment. In the Orbán government's version, it's the private pension funds that stood accused of playing casino, and the nationalisation didn't result in the safe-keeping of their accumulated funds for the public's long-term benefit, but the spending of it all to plug the deficit in a single year. (I believe this government would also be stupid enough about finance to deliver a perfect example for neolibs in support of their claims about the ills of a central bank not independent from the government.)

And thus came the begging round at the doors of Asian and Caucasian dictatorships, and the austerity programmes which please should not be called austerity programmes, even if by now the poor are punished even more than in any prior austerity programme, and public servants got back to a 40-hour work week with the same salary. Also note that they put the debt brake into their new constitution. That's what's behind the phrase "an IMF programme without the IMF" which I used in the diary.

On the other hand, the Orbán government's contradictory relationship with the IMF may be a rational strategy – one meant to discourage market attacks. I detailed this hypothesis of mine here.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Fri Oct 26th, 2012 at 12:10:29 PM EST
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